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Vietnam, Cuba promote trade, investment cooperation

Vietnam and Cuba have huge potential to boost partnership in trade and investment, heard a conference held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Construction and the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment in Ho Chi Minh City on September 13.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Construction Le Quang Hung said the two nations have enjoyed fruitful cooperation in various sectors, from politics, diplomacy to economy, trade, investment and culture. Thanks to efforts made by the Vietnam-Cuba Intergovernmental Committee, cooperation activities have been expanded, resulting in positive results in bilateral trade and investment.

According to the Deputy Minister, two-way trade reached 335 million USD last year, a year-on-year surge of 25 percent. Vietnam is currently the second largest trade partner of Cuba in the Asian region. Several Vietnamese projects were put into operation, providing products for the Cuban market, including SANVIF joint venture’s building material plant and Thai Binh Company’s consumer goods production plant.

Hung added that Vietnam and Cuba have stepped up cooperation in the fields of health care and pharmaceutics. As health care and pharmaceutics are the strength of Cuba, cooperation in this sector will help increase Cuban exports to Vietnam.

Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz said Cuba is diversifying external economic relations, striving to attract more foreign investment, and establishing industrial and service special zones.

To realise the goals, the country is working to improve its pricing policy, phase out subsidy regime and recognise the important role of the market economy, he said, adding that due attention has been paid to bettering payment methods and enhancing cooperation in high-tech sectors.

Although Vietnam is an important trade and investment partner of Cuba, the cooperation results have yet to match with their potential and expectations, he said.
The minister, therefore, recommended the two sides further step up bilateral trade, diversify Vietnamese exports to Cuba, and increase Cuban shipments of medical services to both state-owned and private hospitals in Vietnam.

General Director of Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM) Anna Terresa said Cuba commits increasing preferential policies and protecting legitimate rights for foreign investors. In addition, it is revising regulations to accelerate negotiation procedures and granting of investment licenses through a single window system.

Terresa said Cuba could be an effective investment destination for Vietnamese firms in the context that Vietnam is integrating deeply into the global economy. Holding strengths in consumer goods production, Vietnam should expand investment in Cuba to penetrate into more South American markets, she said.

Meanwhile, Cuba will have opportunities to further collaboration with other Asian nations through Vietnam. This will help develop the Vietnam-Cuba relations into a more sustainable fashion, and contribute to consolidate position of each nation in the regional and international arena, she stressed.